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LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review:  April 23, 2013
Format Reviewed:   PS3
Language / Country of Origin:   English / United Kingdom
Online Capability: There is downloadable content (DLC) for this title.  There are also online cooperative and competitive multiplayer options available (with up to four players). Players can additionally interact online to design and share content and game together.  User-created levels are published online, where other gamers can access them to play and rate them, based on content.
Sequel: LittleBigPlanet PSPLittleBigPlanet 2, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, LittleBigPlanet Karting
Equipment Needed: None needed.
Maintenance Required:  None required.

Review:

Plot:
In LittleBigPlanet, players control a customizable avatar, which resembles a humanoid burlap sack that is referred to as either Sackboy (if you choose a male) or Sackgirl (if you choose a female).LittleBigPlanet

The game is comprised of three modes or planets: “LittleBigPlanet”, “My Moon”, and “Info Moon”.

The LittleBigPlanet is where the story-driven action occurs. It consists of 50+ pre-designed levels.  Here, players maneuver Sackboy and Sackgirl through a world that was manufactured by Creator Curators (a hodgepodge group of characters who designed and built various creations).  Sackboy/Sackgirl have a mission to help resolve a problem of a Creator Curator gone bad – “The Collector” has begun kidnapping characters and stealing their creations.  To complete this mission, players are led through various scenarios to rescue characters, retrieve objects and defeat evil.  Any objects obtained in this mode (such as stickers, music tracks, etc.) can be used elsewhere in the game. Within the LittleBigPlanet mode, players can also access levels that other game players have created as well as the PlayStation Store, where they can purchase downloadable content.

My Moon is where players can create their own LittleBigPlanet themed masterpieces.  Within this mode, players can modify pre-existing levels (by placing stickers or decorations within them) or design their own objects or levels from scratch.  These user creations can then be shared and played online with others.

The Info Moon mode is where players build and maintain friends and favorites lists and see game statistics.

IMG_5810Cultural / Historical Value:
LittleBigPlanet is one of PlayStation 3’s flagship titles.  The game was welcomed to almost universal praise from gamers and game critics alike and sold millions of copies. It was nominated for and won numerous awards.  Most people celebrated the game’s fresh (and yet, still cutesy) graphics and soundtrack and applauded the innovative addition of user-generated content. People also praised the game’s sound, including the narration as performed by celebrated British actor, Stephen Fry.  Some people have complained about difficult gameplay, specifically with how hard it is to move between the foreground and background on the screen (a motion which is necessary to solve particular puzzles).

The game has incorporated other PlayStation franchises, by allowing players to change their avatars into costumes that represent characters from Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy, God of War, Heavenly Sword, Metal Gear Solid, Resistance, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Street Fighter, among others.

Before its release, in October 2008, the game did face some controversy when a gamer pointed out that part of the Qur’an was cited in the lyrics of one of LittleBigPlanet’s in-game songs. PlayStation decided to patch the game to remove the lyrics.

IMG_5818Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
LittleBigPlanet’s focus on user-generated content rewards players creativity, allowing them to birth their own creations.  Therefore, the game could be useful in breeding and inspiring creativity.  It can also be instructive in teaching players about game design – particularly when using the level creator.

Replay Value:  
LittleBigPlanet has high replay value.  Motivated players will return to the title time and time again, due to the ability to customize and create content.  Additionally, there is un-lockable content, which will spur players on.  For example, new levels, modes, and objects become available to players after they complete a certain number of levels or tutorials.  Finally, during the course of gameplay, players will collect various items that can be used to accessorize their character (e.g. clothing), unlock mini-games (e.g. keys) to use in other modes (e.g. stickers).

Likely Audiences:
This game is suitable for just about any audience.  Those who enjoy games that allow players to express their creativity and customize their environments will likely be impressed by LittleBigPlanet.  However, anyone willing to play a game with a compelling story and an imaginative presentation should give this game a try.

Overall Score:
89/100.

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
Mobygames

 

About the Author:
Shannon L. Farrell, MLIS, MS is a Liaison Librarian at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  Having been an avid gamer for the last 25 years, she has a great interest in incorporating videogames into library and educational environments.  She has conducted research on the topic, examining current use of videogames in libraries and the resources available for collection development purposes.  Shannon is a member of the ALA Games and Gaming Round Table.  Since she plays videogames on a daily basis, Shannon will be a regular contributor and editor of reviews for VideoGameCat.  She also maintains the VideoGameCat Twitter (@thevideogamecat) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/thevideogamecat) accounts.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Graphics Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Male Voice
(Stephen Fry as The Narrator)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Original Score Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2008One to Watch Award Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best PS3 Game Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Soundtrack Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Game of the Year Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Studio of the Year
(Media Molecule)
Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Artistic Achievement Winner
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Audio Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Casual Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Console Game of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Family Game of the Year Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Family Game of the Year Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009GAME Award of 2008 Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Game Design Winner
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Game of the Year Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Innovation Award Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Multiplayer Game of the Year Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Original Score Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Soundtrack Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Innovation in Gaming Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Overall Game of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Playstation Game of the Year Third Place
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Soundtrack of the Year Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Technical Achievement Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Technology Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Ultimate Game of the Year Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Use of Audio Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Visual Arts Nominee

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